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Supreme Court denies tribal sovereignty

"My Trusty Gavel" by flickr user steakpinball -

A section of northwest lower Michigan will not be considered a reservation, after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to review a case Monday.

It puts an end to a fight for tribal sovereign rights there.

In 2015, the Little Traverse Bay Bands of Odawa Indians filed a lawsuit. It said an 1855 treaty created a reservation of over 300 square miles in Emmet and Charlevoix counties.

Michigan said the treaty only offered the Tribe pieces of the land, for members to have homes. On Monday, the Supreme Court declined to hear the case.

Tribal Chairperson Regina Gasco-Bentley said in a statement the Tribe is sad and disappointed. She said it will continue to work in cooperation with the U-S government as honorable stewards of the area’s sacred land and water.

Townships and a landowner’s association in the disputed area were opposed to the tribes’ position. They feared it could mean changes for law enforcement and zoning in their communities.